Azure Data Box

What is Azure Data Box?

Microsoft Azure Data Box is a hardware appliance designed to allow customers to import or export large amounts of data—more than 40TB— into and out of Azure offline. It is especially helpful when there is zero or limited network connectivity. Microsoft ships customers a proprietary Data Box storage device with a rugged casing to protect and secure data during the transit. A customer may choose Data Box for a one-time or the occasional cloud migration or an initial bulk data transfer followed by periodic transfers.

Microsoft also promotes the Data Box as a solution for exporting data from Azure back on-premises for disaster recovery or other needs or to move to another cloud service provider.


There are three different types of physical Data Box solutions based on data size:

  • Data Box: This device has 100TB capacity and uses standard NAS protocols and common copy tools. It features AES 256-bit encryption for safer transit.
  • Data Box Heavy: This larger device is designed to lift 1PB of data to the cloud.
  • Data Box Discs: Discs have capacity of 8TB SSD with a USB/SATA interface featuring 128-bit encryption. Customers can buy in packs of up to five for a total of 40TB.

Considerations for Cloud Migrations Using Azure Data Box 

Azure Data Box is a good solution to consider if online data transfer is not possible either because the network bandwidth is limited or because it can take too long. But offline transfers can be very tedious and error prone if done manually. Choosing what data to migrate, moving the data into Azure Data Box, and then ensuring the data lands in the cloud can be time consuming to manage. Managing access control and security of file data, and ensuring transfer of all metadata and permissions of files can be very tedious. Often, enterprises want to move some file data to the cloud and keep the rest on-premises. In such situations, using Azure Data Box manually without any automation becomes even more tricky because it can disrupt users and applications.

Azure Data Box Gateway for Inline Data Transfers

Azure also offers a virtual appliance called Azure Data Box Gateway that resides on-premises and enables customers to write data to it using NFS and SMB protocols. The device then transfers the data to Azure block, Blob, or Azure File. But Azure Data Box gateway has several limitations and can be used only for very small amounts of data in limited circumstances. See full set of limitations here.

Komprise allows you to migrate large amounts of data reliably and effortlessly to Azure using its patented Elastic Data Migration, which is 27 times faster than alternatives. You can also use Komprise to transparently tier data to Azure. Tiering cold data is a great way to offload 80% of your data to the cloud without any disruption to users and applications. 

By using Komprise for cloud tiering to Azure, you can save not only on your on-premises storage but also on your cloud costs since you do not have to tier to Azure Files, you can tier directly to Azure Blob. Users get transparent access to the files moved by Komprise from the original location, and with Komprise moving data in native format, you can give users direct, cloud-native access to data in Azure while eliminating egress fees and rehydration hassles. 

Learn more about your Cloud Tiering choices 

Learn more about Komprise for Microsoft Azure.

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